Reader Question I am a stay-at-home mom for two very young children and I go to school full-time. I can't seem to keep my house clean at all. I spend so much time with the kids and homework, I end up doing all my cleaning after the kids go to bed when I should be relaxing. I was just wondering what I can do to clean my house to keep it somewhat clean. My kids have toys scattered through the house and it seems like there are piles of dirty clothes and laundry all the time. I can't keep up, no matter what I do. --Holly Ann from Michigan I am a full-time student with two young children ages 4 and 2. Our Response Dear Holly, Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job in and of itself. The fact that you’re also going to school full-time adds a lot more pressure on you and your day. You should absolutely be relaxing once the kids are in bed…this is your time to re-group and recharge for tomorrow! First of all, cut yourself some slack. Your home may not be as organized or look like you wish, but your main priority is to people in your home, including yourself. Second, you don’t need a chunk of time to clean your house. Staying organized is about finding moments here and there to work on housekeeping responsibilities. Here are some suggestions: 1. Try to do just ONE load of laundry a day, TWO if you have the time. 2. Put away half of your children’s toys and then exchange them throughout the year. This serves 2 purposes: 1) Your children (and you) will have less toys to put away and 2) You can reintroduce new toys which will reengage your children. 3. Buy some decorative bins to store the children’s toys. Label each bin with a picture of what type of toy goes into the bin, this way the kids can pick up their things and put them away. And yes, they should begin doing this as early as possible. 4. Multi-task. When you’re on the phone, sweep the floor. While waiting for water to boil, put some of the clothes away. 5. Incorporate spot-cleaning into your routine. You may not have time to wash the floors, but you can definitely wipe up spots and spills as you see them. For the bathroom, just take a wet paper towel and run it along the base of the toilet and around the edges of the room. Or use a disinfectant wipe to rinse off the bathroom countertops. As you can see, there are several quick and easy solutions to keep your home in order. Right now, you definitely have a lot on your plate, but as the kids get older, keeping up with the house becomes a little bit long as you are committed to the children helping you. In addition, you may want to look into hiring a teenager for an hour or two a day. While the sitter is taking care of your children, you can clean a bit, and then take care of YOU. Thank you for your letter, Maria Reader Clinic Submittal Have an organizing question? We'd love to hear from you. Please fill in your answers to all questions below. Then press SEND. If your browser does not allow you to use forms, just type all of your answers in an email and send the email to Your tips and ideas may be printed in one of our future newsletters as a featured Reader Tip. In addition, it may be published in one of our future books, with your name, city and state! By submitting this form, you agree to allow us to reprint your tip(s) or idea(s) in our future publications. Be sure to read our newsletter each week to find out if your tip was chosen to be featured. Thank you! Maria Gracia To submit your Organizing Question, please fill out the form below: All fields are required

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